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Should Maui Visitors Be Subject To $1,000 Fine For This?

A new law went into effect yesterday on Maui. And a somewhat less stringent one is coming to the Big Island.

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123 thoughts on “Should Maui Visitors Be Subject To $1,000 Fine For This?”

  1. I have lived on Maui and since I moved away my wife and I have visited so often in the past 3 years now. We have always used reef safe sunscreen. I am very proud that the new law went into effect. Juat wish they had done it sooner.

  2. Aloha,
    The chemical sun screen ban is fine in that it will reduce the use but will not eliminate it. We have been coming to the islands for over 50 years and remember seeing the waters at popular beaches cloudy and appear to have an oil sheen. Can’t be good. I have skin cancer issues and have to be very careful when exposing body parts. One way now with a wide variety of UV protective sport wear and wide brim UV hats, the use of proper sunscreen can be drastically reduced.
    Mahalo and Thanks for all you do to keep us in the loop.
    Greg H

  3. Yes, yes, yes. My family did a snorkeling tour this last August and the organizers were very vocal about using reef-safe sunscreen. We then witnessed an entire family using standard stuff that did not meet the requirements. Folks need to respect what they are witnessing and experiencing in the remaining reefs and marine wildlife. I would increase it to $10k, honestly….

  4. Call me a conspiracy theorist if you want, but I have believed for many years that sunscreen containing these harmful chemicals are dangerous, and no one should use them! Maybe the truth is finally coming out, people should be smart enough to make those decisions themselves to not use them. But they should ultimately be pulled from the market to ensure that no one, human or marine life is harmed from them.

  5. To truly combat the problem, go to the source. Hold the manufacturers accountable! Don’t allow retail stores to sell sunscreen with prohibited chemicals. Consumers will buy what’s on the shelves. If I am subject to a $1,000 fine then the store that sold it and the company that makes it should be fined even more severely.

  6. Why not go to the Source the Manufacturer and stop it before it even gets sold? It’s not very realistic to think Visitors who on average are in Hawaii a Week are going to return for a Court Date, so then the Fine becomes a Tax on Travel by Default. In 2019 ABC/Foodland stopped giving out Plastic Bags to Shoppers, inconvenient, but effective as to recycling. Airlines can forwarn Passengers when being Ticketed, but there will always be those unaware and clueless who buy at Airport stores outbound. Still irks me, I had my bottle of Aloe taken by Airport Security departing because of the Size/Oz. Limit going through Security at Hono International, they threw in dumpster, but I’m sure was removed, Un-opened!

  7. Thank you for the sunscreen article. Is there a list of brands of sunscreen that are acceptable? This would be helpful as we plan our next visit.

  8. Well intentioned, for sure but creating a law that is known from the start to be basically unenforceable seems to diminish the legitimacy of law making over all. Too many unenforceable laws just for the sake of political grandstanding.

    How about a law prohibiting the sale of such products in the Islands? Would do more to diminish the use of such damaging products than a mostly unenforceable law.

  9. We are making a trip to the Big Island in January ’23. I will inform everyone of the need for safe sunscreen.

    Thank younfor this information. I am grateful for any and all care taken of our world.

  10. They have to do what they have to do to protect their islands!
    Too many people don’t do things voluntarily, too selfish!

    1. I think this ban is long overdue. Not only for the preservation of our reefs but also the health of all humans. Our children deserve better. This ban is not an obstacle or hinderance of our freedom. It is an opportunity for positive and caring change that chemical companies fail to recognize over profit. Many other great alternatives exist right now. Protect the beauty of Hawaii. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

      1. Larry,

        “This ban is not an obstacle or hinderance of our freedom. It is an opportunity for positive and caring change that chemical companies fail to recognize over profit. Many other great alternatives exist right now.”

        You call for a ban, blame the companies for bad products and then go on to say there are alternatives right now. So, why blame chemical companies if they have alternatives already? Seems like we end users are the problem, not the companies. If there is a problem.

    1. ….and this attitude is exactly why they have to have fines. If we all were just a little sensitive to the needs of the environment we wouldn’t have to have all of these laws. I mean, how hard is it to just pick up a “reef safe” sunscreen rather than the chemical-based one? It is a very small act on our part to preserve something that we all enjoy.

  11. I don’t go in the water. Doesn’t make sense to fine me if I use sunscreen with the wrong chemicals and merely walk around the beach.

      1. Jen,

        I don’t shower at the beach. I shower in the hotel – are you saying, with certainty, that the hotel water is entering the ocean and damaging the reefs?

    1. Maybe it is a good idea to consider how much effort you are going through to be a contrarian “exception” to a justifiable law and just get reef-safe sunscreen. They aren’t going to send a drone after you to monitor and make sure you get in the water or anything, but why not just do the right thing? Are you trying to “trigger the libs” or something?

  12. As I mentioned previously (although I can’t find it below), we’ve used Blue Lizard for years after it was recommended to me by five different dermatology practices. (I’d run out and used Sun Bum and got a melanoma!). Blue Lizard now has both “mineral based” (i.e., has Octisalate) and “mineral” which is just Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide both of which are not chemical. We’ve never burned, never turned red, etc etc etc. And they aren’t as expensive as many others. (My previous post was reading off the label of one of their mineral-based products – we’ll be be only buying the “mineral” ones from now on. There are many places in oceans other than the Pacific where coral devastation is not an issue as there is no coral close enough to shore.

  13. If these products are indeed amazing to the environment the why not ban their manufacture, and import to the entire US?

    Get them off the market entirely.

    1. Because there are times when they are useful. We live in the desert – not a coral reef to be seen. The added chemicals protect us better where we live in “The Skin Cancer Capital of the USA”. We just choose what we use at home versus what we buy to travel to Hawaii or anywhere there is a coral situation.

      1. Sunscreens with Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide are still allowed and provide effective sun protection and are much safer for humans and corals.

          1. Pamm,

            I’m sure he meant something like “damaging.”

            I’d like to know what the counter-arguments are.

        1. BETH… I 1000% agree with protecting the environment – i.e., the coral – but as Glenna said below – chemical sunscreens are far more protective when you are dealing altitude (i.e., closer to the sun) or dry environments. As I said, we will continue to use “mineral-based” Blue Lizard (which contains one chemical in addition to Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide) when at home but will use the version(s) of BL that contain only those minerals when in Hawaii.

      2. I agree. We live in the desert as well, and I find that the physical sunscreens do not work nearly as well as the chemical sunscreens. Several years ago a dermatologist advised me to switch to a physical sunscreen, which I took to Maui and after just one day, I had sunburn. So I’ve stuck with the chemical sunscreens, and have changed to those that don’t have the banned ingredients. I never burn and barely tan as a result. I will take the chemicals over sunburn any day, especially as I have had several basal cell carcinomas on my face and shoulders that developed in my “sinful” youth of never using sunscreen. Thanks for posting about this and keeping all of us up-to-date!

        1. All chemical sunscreens are now banned in Maui, not just Oxybenzone and Octinoxate as is the case with a Hawaii State law passed in 2018. If you come to Maui please do not bring your chemical sunscreen.

        2. The data from science does not back up your single-experience anecdote, which may have been from anomalous weather conditions or something else. Chemical screens have continuously been found, in multiple trials, to be less-effective against sun damage than physical blockers in pretty much every aspect of application and use.

          The reason the chemical screens are still widely-produced is that they are cheap to source and manufacture, and thus produce higher profit margins for sunscreen makers. Simple as that – follow the $$

  14. We are somewhat concerned, But, what about all the Effulent that is directed in to the bays When is rains so dang hard, that the county has a backhoe, dig a trench from the stream to the beach to let all the Water and street crap flow ??? Why isn’t the Department of Fisheries, and Ecology concerned about the Brown water?

  15. This is based on poor science. Do some research and you will find that coral reef bleaching is caused by warming ocean water according to leading coral scientists. I am all for protecting coral reefs but more research is needed.

    1. same scientists said wed be losing massive amounts of reef and completely blew it in regards to predciting the great barrier reef at a 30 year high

      just sayin, these scientists arent infallible and its certainly not “settled”

  16. BoH, Thanks for the information. I got a C in chemistry. Can you mention any commercial sunscreens (manufacturer and type) are permitted on Maui? I hope to find some sunscreen that might say “Approved by Maui”. With Halloween fast approaching are we all trick or treating as Casper the Friendly Ghost?

      1. Huge fan of mineral based Raw Elements…I use the Baby formula as I think it is more gentle..and their lip balms are spot on…otherwise a rash guard for snorkeling or per Dr. Mercola, the world’s number 1 holistic MD (and Many other world known holistic doctors), get full sun for optimal Vitamin D; bio-available and gets into your system on a cellular level- do the research, the sun is good for us:), for 20 minutes a day sans any sunscreen.

      2. are ones labeled “reef safe” ok? ive seen that around, but when i was snorkeling ahihi i remember a sign saying that they are not necessarilly good enough in all cases

      3. A list of approved options should always be included when trying to educate the public on what will be acceptable in Maui oceans. You cannot even think of giving fines to tourists when most haven’t even heard of this one the Jan ban was better communicated but this one has not and it’s already in effect.

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